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A mantinada by Giorgos Stavrakakis (Michalomba), one of Crete's leading poets, says, "Giant in the place that I love, no matter how much I see it, it's like being in paradise and sitting in the middle"
As I reach my village this mantinada comes to my mind, but that’s not unjustly, not only because I love it.
Kavousi is the oldest village of Crete in the center of Lasithi prefecture, a village where God is said to have spread all the beauty of the world. That's the way my eyes see it, too.
So come and see it for yourself.
If you take the road from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia, crossing the junction at Pachia Ammos to Ierapetra, the first village you meet is Kavousi.
A huge olive grove stretches from the beautiful beach of Tholos to Azoria with Europe’s most ancient olive grove and ends at the slopes of Papoura and Kapsas. A place abundant with olive trees with one of the largest olive oil productions in Crete.
Here in this blessed place is the most revered grandmother of the olive groves, the ancient Minoan olive tree of the Holy Alps of Kavoussi, a unique landscape rich in archaeological and Byzantine monuments, with a network of cobbled paths leading to the springs and settlements of the mountain of Thripti.
The Minoan olive tree is in the center of an ancient olive grove in the Azoria region. It has been declared by the Association of Olive Municipalities of Crete as "monumental" because of the large dimensions of its trunk and its location near the ancient settlements of "Vrontos", "Acropolis Azoria" and "Castle side". It is a tree with a huge trunk with a diameter of 22.10 m at the base. Eighty inches from the ground the maximum diameter is 4.95 meters and its circumference is 14.20 meters.
My village is the oldest village in Crete. From the middle of the Neolithic period until today it has been continuously inhabited over the centuries and has been historically and archeologically documented.
Excavations carried out since 1900 by the American School of Archeology and Greek archaeologists have exposed 120 archaeological sites! Important ancient settlements of "Azoria", "Vrontos", "Side of the Castle", "Iira", Minoan cemeteries, villas, ancient olive mills, Roman warehouses of the Tholos and many more, show its unique archaeological wealth.
The first images the visitor encounters are the beautiful flower gardens adorning the facades of the houses and a cluster of mulberry and laurel trees adorning the main street.
Good-natured housewives are ready to kiss you even if they don’t know you so as you can understand there is a tradition of hospitality in my village and the locals will always find something from their garden or kitchen to offer you.
Fifty meters from the church of Agia Triada, which stands in the center of the village, a beautiful paved road (2,800 m) crosses the plain with olive trees and leads north to a beautiful sandy and pebbly beach.
Today it attracts visitors from all over Crete and has fanatical visitors from northern Europe, who are mainly Dutch and French. One of the great benefits of the beach is its shallow waters that provide security, especially for families with young children. A cluster of almond trees give their shade to the bathers.
In front of the bay of Tholos is the island of Iira. To its east, a Minoan settlement with important archaeological finds has been excavated and it’s considered one of the most remarkable of the Minoan era, especially due to the vases which were found. More recently, in the seabed in front of the Minoan city, a shipwreck of a Minoan ship was discovered. In the past, Jacques Cousteau did significant underwater exploration there.
To the west of the village, the Aleppo hill is torn by a small gorge that ends in a beautiful quiet bay with a small beach at Agriomandra. Agriomandra is a small natural harbor with deep, clear and blue waters, hidden on the shores of the Aleppo hill. It’s a place that soothes and protects you. From antiquity to the beginning of the last century it served as a port. Today the only surviving evidence is remnants of a Roman site (a built section and a vaulted well).
Two beautiful canyons dominate the environment east of the village. Mesonas, a relatively closed gorge with vertical walls and a large flow of water during the winter months, starts from the springs of Mylonia near the rural settlement of Tsamadi. Following Mesonas, the small canyon of Yavgas ends east of the village near the national road to Sitia.
My village is rich in religious monuments of fine art. The Byzantine churches emphasize the distinctive feature of the village, which with a total of 25 churches, marks it as a place of religious worship. In the surviving Byzantine temples you can still see the high level quality of 14th and 15th century hagiographic art. Among the Byzantine frescoed temples stands a special place for Saint George and the Apostles.
Visitors can enjoy Cretan cuisine in taverns, savo

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